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By WelshPaul
#136
If you can't see websites on the internet - check the following:

1. Check other sites
It may be that the problem is just with the one website you are looking at. Try a couple of popular, well-known sites like http://www.google.co.uk/ and http://www.bbc.co.uk/. If you can see other sites, you will want to either get in touch with the owner of the site that has problems, or try again later.

2. Clear cache and cookies
The first step to try if you find that you are unable to view a website is to clear out your cache (Temporary Internet Files) and your cookies. This is because you may be trying to view an old version of the site that no longer exists.

For Microsoft Internet Explorer:
  • Open Internet Explorer (if not already open)
  • Click on the "Tools" menu
  • Click on "Internet Options"
  • Click on the "Delete Files" button
  • Put a tick in "Delete all offline content"
  • Click on OK
  • Click on the "Delete Cookies" button
  • Click on OK
  • Click on the Clear History button
  • Click on Yes
  • Click on OK
  • Close all Internet Explorer windows
For Mozilla Firefox:
  • Open Firefox (if not already open)
  • Click on "Clear Private Data"
  • Tick the options for "Browsing History", "Cache", "Cookies" and "Ask me before clearing private data"
  • Untick everything else
  • Click on "Clear Private Data Now"
  • Close all Firefox windows
Once you have done the above steps (or the equivalent for whatever browser you are using) then you will need to try your problem website again, along with a couple of well known ones (as per step one).

3. Trace route and ping
Now that we have established that you are unable to view a website using your internet browser, we will need to see where the connection to the website is failing. To do this we use a couple of tests that are built into Windows.

First, we will do a traceroute & this will tell us how your internet is trying to connect to the website, and if there are any problems with the route it is trying to take.

To do this:
  • Click on the Start button
  • Click on Run
  • Delete anything written in the text box and type in "cmd" (without the quotes)
  • Click on OK
  • When the DOS Prompt appears, type in"tracert" (without the quotes) followed by the address of the website you are trying to view
  • Press Enter
You will get a list of addresses and text that will look something like this:
tracert.png
If the trace completes without timing out, then there is nothing wrong with your internet connection, and the issue probably lies with your internet browser or some other software on your computer.

If it fails, then there is something wrong with your internet connection, and you will need to continue with this trouble shooter.

The next step is to try a "ping" test. This will not try to check the route to a website, but merely if you can connect to it. This will need to be done in two ways & firstly we need to check if you can see URL's (internet addresses).

To check this:
  • Click on the Start button
  • Click on Run
  • Delete anything written in the text box and type in "cmd" (without the quotes)
  • Click on OK
  • When the DOS Prompt appears, type in "ping http://www.bbc.co.uk" (without the quotes)
  • Press Enter

If this is successful, you will see something like this:
ping.png
A successful URL ping shows that there is nothing wrong with your internet connection, and the issue probably lies with your internet browser or some other software on your computer.

If the URL ping fails, then you will need to try again except this time with an IP address (the back-end address for any internet URL).

To check this:
  • Click on the Start button
  • Click on Run
  • Delete anything written in the text box and type in "cmd" (without the quotes)
  • Click on OK
  • When the DOS Prompt appears, type in "ping 212.58.224.85" (without the quotes)
  • Press Enter
If this is successful, you will see something like this:
ping_ip.png
A successful IP ping, with a failed URL ping would suggest that there is a problem with your DNS server. This is the server that translates internet URL's into IP addresses so that you can communicate with the internet. A successful Power cycle will fix your problem.

A failed IP ping and a failed URL ping indicates something else is at issue, although a power cycle may yet resolve the issue.

4. Power cycle your connection
If you are at this stage, then you have eliminated any of the likely problems with your computers' software, and instead we are now checking the connection hardware. The easiest fix for your computers connection hardware (modem or router) is to perform a "power cycle".

If you are using a USB-based modem, then you will need to follow these steps:
  • Unplug your device from the PC.
  • After 10 minutes, restart the PC.
  • When your PC is back on the desktop, plug your device back into the PC then reconnect to the internet.
If you are using a wireless, USB or Ethernet-based router, then you will need to follow these steps:
  • Power down your PC and router.
  • After 10 minutes, switch the router on first, and then the PC about two minutes after that
Once you have done the relevant steps for your device, you will want to work backwards through the above steps to see if you are able to connect to your website successfully again.

5. Check your connection
Once you have done all of the above steps, you have ruled out the most common problems with an issue with no web pages, and we are getting closer to the point where there may be a fault with your ADSL line.

At this stage, we need to check all the physical connections from your computer, to the modem/router, and then to the microfilter and telephone line. Make sure to check the ADSL/Link/Ethernet/USB lights on your modem/router device to help check that the connections are established properly (refer to the manuals for your device if you are unsure what the lights mean).

6. Check line noise
If you find there are problems with the connection still at this stage, we would advise unplugging the microfilter and plugging the telephone directly into the phone socket you are using and listening to the dialling tone.

If you can hear any degree of static on the line, you will want to report this directly to BT Line Faults (you can call them on 151) as an issue with your telephone service. They will investigate and resolve the matter accordingly (and in the process likely fix your connection problem).

7. Reinstall (USB only)
This step is only if you are using a USB modem or router. Because these devices need specific software drivers on your computer, these can become corrupt or installed incorrectly.

You will need to refer to your original hardware manual, or quickstart guide. Remember to unplug the USB device then uninstall the driver software before reinstalling the device.

Do NOT plug in the device until the installation process prompts you to as this can cause problems.

8. Getting back to basics
At this point, we are down to performing the final checks before you need to contact the technical helpdesk. We have ruled out most all software problems, and hardware issues & the remaining problem may be one of cabling.

In order to rule this out, please do the following:
  • Unplug all devices from your telephone line. This includes Sky Digiboxes (call Sky before you do this otherwise they may fine you), monitored alarm systems, telephone extension cables, double-adapters, ADSL filters, telephones etc.
  • Take the modem/router to the master socket. If you have a USB-based device, you will also need to take the PC with you as these modems are powered by the PC. If you have an ethernet-based device you will only need to take it and its power cable.
  • You will need to test the connection on the "test socket" which is hidden behind the panel of the master socket (if available & you will be able to tell if the master socket looks like the image above). You will need to remove the panel to access the test socket (using a *Bleep* driver).
  • Once you have removed the panel to reveal the test socket, plug in a micro filter, and then the ADSL cable from the filter into the modem/router.
If at this stage the DSL/Link light continues to flash (either all the time or intermittently) you will need to swap the microfilter for a different one.

If the DSL light continues to flash (either all the time or intermittently) on each filter, please call BT Line Faults on 151 and ask them to do a telephone line test. If they find a fault, this is the most likely cause of your issue and you should allow them to handle the matter before moving on to the final step.

9. Call your Service Provider
At this point you have exhausted all the checks and tests you can do on your own, and you will need to contact your ISP's support team for further advice or for the helpdesk to raise a fault with your line. Be sure to tell them all the steps you have already carried out in order to save them and yourself some time.
By Ispanico
#1553
Wow, thanks so much for the guide! My internet had been acting up lately and the only way to "fix it" was to restart the computer altogether.

Using this guide I found out it was actually a DNS problem and now I've switched to Google's DNS. As soon as I did, the internet worked like a charm.

Cheers!
User avatar
By Bonzer
#2103
Kudos for compiling such a wonderful guide. Well, most of the times the problem lies with your ISP and faulty telephone lines. You may open your modem dashboard by typing 192.168.1.1 and check the signal to noise ratio (SNR) and the attenuation ratio. If these two elements are faulty, then your link light frequently goes off. The ADSL modem works on PPP and the intermediate exchanges need to be contacted for any fault at their end.

But a nice guide to troubleshooting. Well done!
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